Waiting is never easy. Especially when you’re waiting for a decision on something as important and serious as heart surgery. And especially since your symptoms are getting worse on a daily basis.
Fortunately during the week and a half wait Ben actually ran into a couple of people who’d had the same procedure that he’d hopefully be having. Both of them told him it was the easiest operation they’d ever had, and that the recovery time was really short. One person actually was back at work a week later, and the other ten days later.
Well that sounded good!
Then it was announced a few days before our consultation that Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones was having that same procedure! How coincidental was that! At age 75, he had it done on a Thursday and was released from the hospital the next day and would be back on tour in a few months. Actually he could have been back sooner, but because of his animated concert appearances, doctors advised a bit longer recovery time for him.
But waiting for the consultation to verify the type of surgery that was going to be done for Ben still wasn’t easy. His shortness of breath continued to worsen which made him more and more tired by each afternoon. And then there were other obstacles which came into play. Again.
While the hospital department had all of the written test results, along with most of the actual CD’s of the procedures, the CD of the first echocardiogram hadn’t been sent to them, and being able to take the readings from the actual test was a vital link in determining what would be done. Getting that CD should be simple, right, especially in this digital age? One doctors’ group or hospital department requests it, and the other group sends it to them. Right?
That’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway.
However, after three phone calls to the doctors’ group where the test was done, the hospital still didn’t have what they needed. And we were all getting extremely frustrated, to say the least. After all, it shouldn’t be that tough!
Thursday before the consultation on the following Monday I called the doctors’ office again, and once again got the run around. Finally I told them to give me the number for the office where the test had been performed and I’d handle it myself.
So I called, but the office was closed, so I had to leave a message.
Frustrating was not the word by now.
So I called the office again that next morning. Friday. And the consult was Monday. And was told, “We got your message, and we’re just finishing up putting the CD together. It’ll be at our front desk.” Needless to say, I drove to the office and picked it up for Ben to pick up from my office and take to the hospital for them to read.
As luck would have it, as he was pulling up to the hospital to drop off the CD, he got a call from a number he didn’t recognize so he let it go to voicemail. And when he listened to it, it was the hospital asking him to call them about the consultation. So he decided to just talk them in person when he got upstairs to the office.
When he got there he introduced himself to the receptionist and in typical Ben fashion, told her he was returning her call. She explained to him she’d called to tell him they hadn’t received the CD of the test they needed and were calling to reschedule the consult until they had what they needed. He just smiled and pulled the disk out of his pocket and said, “Here it is!”
Once again, as I’ve said, you just can’t make this stuff up…
Let this be a lesson to each and every one of us. We have to be in constant touch with our health care providers. If we are supposed to get a call back from our doctor’s office, and it doesn’t come in a timely manner, don’t keep waiting. Make the call again. And again until you get results. If you need to have a test scheduled, and you’ve waited more than a couple of days, call the doctors’ office until you get the date. When you’re told your information will be forwarded to a specialist, follow up to be sure it’s been done, and if it hasn’t, keep calling until you get results.
You have to be your own healthcare advocate, or an advocate for your loved one. It oftentimes becomes a team effort, but many times that’s the only way you get things done. Don’t be afraid to make a pest of yourself; sometimes it’s the only way to make it happen! And it can make a huge difference in your or your loved one’s care.
And now, it was finally on to the big consult!
And the story continues in Matters of the Heart, Part 16, to be published April 29.
Don’t miss the previous stories in this series:
Matters of the Heart, Part 1
Matters of the Heart, Part 2
Matters of the Heart, Part 3
Matters of the Heart, Part 4
Matters of the Heart, Part 5
Matters of the Heart, Part 6
Matters of the Heart, Part 7
Matters of the Heart, Part 8
Matters of the Heart, Part 9
Matters of the Heart, Part 10
Matters of the Heart, Part 11
Matters of the Heart, Part 12
Matters of the Heart, Part 13
Matters of the Heart, Part 14